An antique Oriental dagger protruded from between the shoulder-blades of Mrs. Elsie May Batten. A small antique Moorish knife had been plunged into her neck, and an Egyptian dagger was protruding from her chest.
A well-known art critic, Mrs. Batten had been minding her friend Louis Meier’s curio shop in Cecil Court, off London’s Charing Cross Road, and her body was found there on MARCH 3rd, 1961, when he returned at noon.
The three murder weapons were part of the shop’s stock, and neighbouring shopkeepers told detectives of a young man who had been inquiring about the price of dress swords. He had also been trying to sell a sword which turned out to have been stolen from Louis Meier’s shop.
For the first time in a murder investigation in Britain the police used an Identikit picture of the suspect. This was based on the shopkeepers’ descriptions of the young man who they believed to be Indian, and on March 8th a patrolling policeman spotted 21-year-old Edwin Albert Arthur Bush in Soho, checked him against the Identikit picture, and arrested him.
Bush, a Eurasian, admitted trying to sell the sword allegedly stolen from Meier’s shop, but claimed it belonged to his father. Questioned further, he confessed to killing Mrs. Batten, claiming he had attacked her and stolen the sword after she made an offensive comment on his colour.
At his Old Bailey trial he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His execution followed at Pentonville Prison on July 6th, 1961.